Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton was in Springfield, Ill., Wednesday where she sought to use the symbolism of a historic landmark to draw parallels to a present-day America that is in need of repairing deepening racial and cultural divides.

The Old State Capitol — where Abraham Lincoln delivered his famous "A house divided" speech in 1858 warning against the ills of slavery and where Barack Obama launched his presidential bid in 2007 — served as the backdrop for Clinton as she spoke of how "America's long struggle with race is far from finished."

Episode 711: Hooked on Heroin

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When we meet the heroin dealer called Bone, he has just shot up. He has a lot to say anyway. He tells us about his career--it pretty much tracks the evolution of drug use in America these past ten years or so. He tells us about his rough past. And he tells us about how he died a week ago. He overdosed on his own supply and his friend took his body to the emergency room, then left.

New British Prime Minister Theresa May announced six members of her Cabinet Wednesday.

Amid a sweeping crackdown on dissent in Egypt, security forces have forcibly disappeared hundreds of people since the beginning of 2015, according to a new report from Amnesty International.

It's an "unprecedented spike," the group says, with an average of three or four people disappeared every day.

The Republican Party, as it prepares for its convention next week has checked off item No. 1 on its housekeeping list — drafting a party platform. The document reflects the conservative views of its authors, many of whom are party activists. So don't look for any concessions to changing views among the broader public on key social issues.

Many public figures who took to Twitter and Facebook following the murder of five police officers in Dallas have faced public blowback and, in some cases, found their employers less than forgiving about inflammatory and sometimes hateful online comments.

As Venezuela unravels — with shortages of food and medicine, as well as runaway inflation — President Nicolas Maduro is increasingly unpopular. But he's still holding onto power.

"The truth in Venezuela is there is real hunger. We are hungry," says a man who has invited me into his house in the northwestern city of Maracaibo, but doesn't want his name used for fear of reprisals by the government.

The wiry man paces angrily as he speaks. It wasn't always this way, he says, showing how loose his pants are now.

Ask a typical teenage girl about the latest slang and girl crushes and you might get answers like "spilling the tea" and Taylor Swift. But at the Girl Up Leadership Summit in Washington, D.C., the answers were "intersectional feminism" — the idea that there's no one-size-fits-all definition of feminism — and U.N. climate chief Christiana Figueres.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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Art Spiegelman Reflects On 60 Years Of Pen And Ink

Sep 14, 2013
Originally published on September 14, 2013 11:28 am

It's axiomatic now that comics have gone from being kids' stuff to, in some cases, adults only. These days, comics are recognized as a real artistic form, one that can be complex, subtle, pointed, probing and profane.

One of the artists most responsible for this is Art Spiegelman, who drew for Topps Bubble Gum comics, invented the Garbage Pail Kids, created a character who was all head, no body, for Playboy and won the Pulitzer Prize for Maus, his Holocaust comic — a phrase that was once unfathomable.

Spiegelman has edited magazines and has drawn famous covers for The New Yorker. "As an art form, the comic strip is barely past its infancy," he once wrote. So am I. Maybe we'll grow up together."

A new restrospective of his work has been published by Drawn and Quarterly. It's called Co-Mix: A Retrospective of Comics, Graphics, and Scraps, and Spiegelman tells NPR's Scott Simon that he started copying comics when he was a little kid. "If you copy enough of them ... you learn the vocabulary that way," he says. "So I was doing that, and by the time, I don't know, I was in third grade — so what's that, 11? — it was clear to me I was going to be a comics artist."


Interview Highlights

On his issues with depth perception

It's served me well — not in baseball, but in drawing comics, because comics seem very real that way. ... I don't really see stereo, so it's not good for getting in and out of cars, but when I draw something, it looks real.

On his changing interests over the years

I keep finding out what I'm interested in by making this combination of words and pictures, this comics thing, and when I finally started looking at modern art — I'd grown up as a slob snob; if it wasn't on newsprint, I wasn't interested — and it took my friend Ken Jacobs, a filmmaker, to drag me to a museum and say, look, Picasso is just another cartoonist, he just works bigger. It changed what I thought comics might be, even though in one sense, comics were always ultramodern — but in the other, there's all this stuff that happened at that moment of modernism, ranging from Cubism to Gertrude Stein and whatever, that I wanted to find out how that could work inside little boxes with balloons.

On what comes first, pictures or words?

Very often it's words. I find it's easier for me to write than to draw — what it actually is is some crazy explosion sign system that can include visual signs and written things, both colliding at the same moment.

On how Maus came about

By accident, as almost everything I end up getting obsessed with happens. I'd been invited into an underground comic called Funny Aminals, and after a couple of really bum starts — and then actually sitting in on Ken Jacobs' film classes one day, while this was churning around in my head — he showed some very old Mickey Mouse cartoons, when Mickey was still kinda jazzy, and he said, look at this guy! He's actually Al Jolson with big round ears. And then all of a sudden, this kind of epiphany of, that's it — I'll do a strip about race in America with black mice and Ku Klux Kats or something, and it took me 24 hours to realize I knew bupkis [nothing] about being black in America. But another metaphor using cats and mice and racial oppression came to mind and led to that first three-page comic for an underground comic book that was the beginnings of Maus.

On his famous Sept. 11 cover for The New Yorker

All I can say for sure is that Francoise, my wife, who was the art editor of The New Yorker, and I somehow made this thing together, the same way we lived through the day together. She went up to The New Yorker, and I went to my studio and started trying to find an image, and was barking up the wrong tree. ... I've lived, still do, about eight or 10 blocks above ground zero, and as I would walk from my home to my studio, which was two blocks further north, I'd have to keep turning around to make sure the towers still weren't there, and that led to this phantom limb cover of the black on black ... it was just a direct and real response, and my favorite letter was somebody saying, you've finally justified 50 years of modernism.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.